All About Yves
By now, most of us are familiar with Jawbone Bluetooth headsets. The work of San Francisco-based designer Yves Béhar, these sleek ear pieces have quickly become ubiquitous since their launch back in 2006.
What you might not know about Yves though, is his unwavering commitment to social responsibility, as demonstrated by a bevy of award-winning projects that democratize both design and technology. In fact, Béhar is the only designer to win two INDEX: Awards, which recognize designs with the potential to improve lives.
Béhar netted his first Index: Award in 2007 for One Laptop Per Child, an ambitious project that aims to provide every child in the world with new channels of learning in the form of a durable, low-cost, low-power laptop--so far with great success. To date the program has distributed Béhar-designed laptops to more than 2.4 million children in 25 countries. A new, $100 XO-3 tablet computer (pictured above) was recently introduced, and includes a removable cover that can house a solar panel to charge the unit.
Last year, Béhar scored another INDEX: Award for See Better to Learn Better, a program in partnership with the government of Mexico that distributes free eyeglasses to school children there. Béhar designed attractive frames made of a super-lightweight plastic called Grilamid, which boasts a high distortion ratio that allows the material to be stretched and even flattened without breaking. A simplified construction method makes the product easy to assemble in the field.
In between his cause-driven work, Béhar still manages to produce trailblazing consumer products. Just recently, he introduced the SAYL office chair for Herman Miller after nearly a decade of brainstorms and prototypes. Inspired by the structural towers of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the chair is unusually responsive to a user's movements and body shape due to a frameless, full-suspension back. Two Béhar inventions make this innovative piece possible: an ArcSpan base near the bottom of the chair's back that anchors the back's urethane webbing, and the Y-shaped tower at the top of the back that suspend the webbing.